Albany, NY — Today, dozens activists from the Stop Holtec coalition rallied with state legislators outside Governor Hochul’s office, demanding the Governor champion the passage of S6893/A7208, legislation to ban the dumping of toxic radioactive waste from nuclear plants into waterways. The Stop Holtec coalition includes Food & Water Watch, United for Clean Energy, Grassroots Environmental Education, NYPIRG, Clearwater, Riverkeeper, Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition, Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter and many grassroots groups and individuals from across the state.
“Unless Governor Hochul acts now to pass S6893/A7208, thousands of New Yorkers will be exposed to toxic, radioactive water this summer,” said Food & Water Watch Senior New York Organizer Santosh Nandabalan. “Banning Holtec’s toxic radioactive dump into the Hudson River is not only the right thing to do — it’s our only option. In the waning days of this legislative session, this bill must be a priority for the Hochul administration. Nothing less than our health and the sanctity of the Hudson River are in her hands — Governor Hochul must champion the prompt passage of S6893/A7208 before it’s too late.”
The push comes in the final days of session, as Holtec International plans to dump over one million gallons of radioactive wastewater from the decommissioning Indian Point nuclear plant into the Hudson River this summer. Activists delivered 30 local government resolutions and over 400,000 petitions opposing the dumping, and urged Governor Hochul to break her silence on this issue. In April, 138 groups sent a letter to Governor Hochul, urging her to stop the dump.
The waste Holtec plans to dump contains toxic contaminants, including tritium. Exposure to this radioactive isotope is linked to cancer, miscarriages, genetic defects and other adverse health effects. There is no safe dose of radiation and its harmful impacts are cumulative.
Ellen Weininger, Director of Educational Outreach at Grassroots Environmental Education said, “We implore the Governor and the New York State Legislature to follow the science and immediately enact the “Save the Hudson” bill to protect our health, our precious water supply and our regional economies. Research shows that exposure to radioactive contaminants is linked with cancer, miscarriages, genetic defects and other adverse health effects. There is no safe dose of radiation and women, developing fetuses and children are especially vulnerable. Health experts have made it clear that tritium cannot be filtered out of wastewater and can, in fact, bind with oxygen to form a water molecule. That means once ingested or inhaled it can disperse in the body, exposing the beta radiation that tritium emits to the brain and spinal cord and across the placenta to a developing fetus. With so much at stake for New Yorkers, Governor Hochul and the state legislature must act today!”
“The Hudson River must not be used as a dumping ground for radioactive wastewater; it is unacceptable,” said Jeremy Cherson, Senior Manager of Government Affairs for Riverkeeper. “The legislation sponsored by Senator Harckham and Assemblywoman Levenberg can stop Indian Point from dumping radioactive waste into the Hudson River, but only if this legislature passes it and Governor Hochul signs it right away. We need our leaders to stand up to protect our state’s economic interests from the risks posed by Holtec’s proposal. Riverkeeper is urging legislative leadership and Governor Hochul to ensure passage before the end of the legislative session on June 8.”
“We call on the Governor and the Legislature to protect the tens of thousands of people who live along the Hudson River by banning the dumping of radioactive waste into the river,” said NYPIRG Albany Community Outreach Director, Elizabeth Moreira. “Science tells us that any exposure to radioactive materials causes an increase in cancer risks. The Hudson River is still in the midst of being cleaned up from GE’s PCB pollution, and we must not add more pollution to it.”
“Governor Hochul must publicly support this bill and ensure its passage so that she can sign it into law. The Hudson River is an iconic part of New York State and it is increasingly used by residents and tourists for recreational activities. If Holtec dumps the radioactive wastewater from Indian Point in the Hudson River, the economic consequences will be devastating,” said Susan Van Dolsen of Stop the Algonquin Pipeline Expansion and United for Clean Energy.
“As a lifelong resident of the Town of Lloyd, the health and safety of the Hudson River’s waters has long been a part of my community’s well being. Lloyd is one of seven Mid-Hudson towns that draws its water from the Hudson, meaning it is our families who are directly impacted by pollution and radioactive waste,” said Gina Hansut, Deputy Chair of the Ulster County Legislature Energy, Environment and Sustainability Committee. “We in the Ulster County Legislature have passed Legislation that opposes the shortsighted dumping of toxic material into the Hudson and partners with the Hudson Seven to ensure the safety of our drinking water.”
“We are proud to join with over 100 groups standing in strong opposition to Holtec International’s plan to dump radioactive wastewater into the Hudson River,” said Iris Hiskey Arno, Environment Committee Co-Chair with NYCD16 Indivisible. “Our state representatives must immediately pass the Harckham/Levenberg ‘Save the Hudson’ bill, and Governor Hochul must sign it into law. Our beautiful river cannot be a dumping ground for companies seeking the cheapest way to get rid of toxic waste with no regard for the harm they are causing humans and all creatures who come in contact with the river.”